The previous few seasons, the New York Mets had Gary Disarcina as their third base coach. Compared to him, anyone would look terrific.
However, that does not mean Joey Cora has been great or even good. Remember, this is the same guy the last place and perennially rebuilding Pittsburgh Pirates fired.
The reason the Pirates fired him was because he was literally the worst third base coach in the game. Things started off very rocky with the Mets.
He had very bad sends of Pete Alonso, Robinson Canó (remember having to deal with that mess), and Eduardo Escobar. Things got better over the ensuing months, but Cora has looked like the Cora of old of late.
Per Baseball Savant, McNeil has slightly below average speed. He also hesitated slightly around second.
It was a perfect carom to the center fielder who threw a strike to the cut-off man. The throw by cut-off man was strong but pulling the catcher towards first.
Now, the narrative usually is it took a perfect throw. The thing is it wasn’t perfect. It was string, but it wasn’t perfect at all. Still, it beat McNeil by a good margin. Here’s the photo:
McNeil didn’t really have a chance. Even if you want to blame him for the hesitation, that’s still on Cora because he sent him. McNeil tried, but he was still out by a good margin.
If this were an isolated instance, you shrug it off. However, these sends are starting to pile up. The hope is it stops here because if it doesn’t Cora may cost the Mets a postseason game.
On the bright side, Cora has the experience and pedigree. He’s a baseball lifer and well respected in the game. He was a gamer who brings the same attitude as a coach.
As a coach, he has mostly been tied to Ozzie Guillen. First, it was the Chicago White Sox, where they won the 2005 World Series. Then, it was the Miami Marlins where Guillen imploded leading the Marlins to clean house.
Notably, Cora wasn’t too big to return to the minors and work his way back up to the majors. That’s exactly what he did leading to his serving the last five years as the Pittsburgh Pirates third base and infield coach.
As the infield coach, Cora was well respected and had a strong impact. When you’re a Mets team with J.D. Davis, Eduardo Escobar, and to a certain extent, Jeff McNeil (ignoring positioning cards and Mets unwillingness to play him at third), Cora is a significant upgrade who can provide a strong impact.
However, that’s only part of it, albeit the most important part of it. Cora was also hired to be the third base coach.
If you were a Mets fan justifiably frustrated with the indecisive and inept Gary Disarcina, things aren’t getting better. In fact, against all odds, it could be getting worse.
Pirates Ranks with Joey Cora (2017-2021):
· Extra Bases Taken Percentage: T-23rd
· Outs on Base at Home: T-30th
· Percentage of Successful Advances of a Runner on 2nd Base on a Hit: 30th
— Mets Metrics (@MetsMetrics) January 4, 2022
Really, seeing his work at third, you really have to wonder why the Mets hired him for the role. While the competition for his services is unknown, you wonder if the Mets needed him that much.
Understandably, the Mets are going in another direction for the bench coach. They need a more analytically inclined individual to buttress Showalter. In the case of Clayton McCullough, you get the added benefit of grooming a potential future manager.
Whatever the thought process, the Mets are better today. Cora is a good baseball man and asset to any organization. That said, some of what his brings will be offset by putting him at third where he is a detriment to the team. It just makes you wonder if there was another role other than third they could’ve offered him.
Believe it or not, this wasn’t more of the same of what we’ve seen from the New York Mets. Rather, it was the start of the Mets completely derailing of the New York Yankees in the start of the Citi Field portion of the Subway Series.
Megill had his best start as a Major Leaguer pitching a career high seven innings while recording a career high 10 strikeouts. He’d pick up his third career win as the Mets dominated.
A 1️⃣0️⃣ K night for Tylor Megill. ? pic.twitter.com/4MzJwvuxOA
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 11, 2021
The first indication of what we were about to see happened in the first inning. Gary Disarcina had an all-time bad send (his speciality), and yet Jonathan Villar was safe due to what can only be classified as the worst tag attempt in Major League history.
— MLB Replays (@MLBReplays) September 11, 2021
Right there, Gary Sanchez set the tone. The rest of the Yankees team would take it home.
Javier Báez hit a ball to Gio Urshela. Urshela made a poor throw home thereby keeping the bases loaded and allowing the run to score. Jeff McNeil followed with a perfect drag bunt to increase the score to 4-2.
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 11, 2021
A Kevin Pillar sacrifice fly and James McCann RBI double later, and the Mets had a five run inning. They were far from done. The lead was expanded to 7-2 when Francisco Lindor hit an opposite field one out homer.
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 11, 2021
Later in the inning, Báez doubled home Michael Conforto from first. The rally ended there with Báez being nailed at third. It was just about the only thing the Yankees did right all night.
As Keith Hernandez put it, the Yankees were “Pepe Le Peu.” They had two errors and a number of misplays. They looked every bit the team who has now lost seven straight.
As for the Mets, this 10-3 win was a glimpse at what could’ve been. With the exception of Alonso, their top six hitters reached safely at least twice.
Overall, this looked like a real postseason team. The shame of it is they likely won’t get there. Instead, we see them in the black jerseys and dream.
Game Notes: McCann hit what should’ve been an inning ending double play in the seventh. Instead, Gleyber Torres threw it away allowing two runs to score. Yennsy Diaz surrendered a solo homer to Anthony Rizzo in the ninth.
Well, as Art Howe used to say, the Mets battled. Put another way, for a minute, this was a game.
Walker appeared to settle down in the fourth, but it all came crashing down in the fifth. This time, instead of starting with a Springer homer, it was a Springer single against the shift.
After the single, the Mets checked on him. Apparently, his non-throwing shoulder was bothering him after a swing. The Mets opted to keep him in the game. Perhaps, they shouldn’t have.
Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. followed by hitting a ball VERY hard for a double. Walker battled with Marcus Semien in an 11 pitch at-bat. Semien won by annihilating a pitch for a three run homer. Just like that, it was 6-0, and Walker was done.
For the Mets offense, the problems began with Gary Disarcina in the first. Again, he showed no ability to properly judge when to send runners.
Brandon Nimmo led off the first with a double, and he was there with two outs when James McCann singled to left. Disarcina had no business sending Nimmo, and yet, he did with Nimmo dead to rights to end the inning.
Please tell me Nimmo ran through a stop sign from the 3B coach and didn’t get sent here lol ball beat him by 45 ft pic.twitter.com/zjr5F6r3y9
— Emily Nyman (@EmSheDoesIt) July 24, 2021
Beyond that, the Mets ability to score runs was somewhat of a story of two Springer plays. In the third, the Mets didn’t get a rally started because Springer absolutely robbed Nimmo of an extra base hit.
In the fifth, with one on, Brandon Drury appeared as a pinch hitter and drove one to right-center. The ball was in and out of Springer’s glove and was ruled a double.
Richards stymied the rally by first striking out J.D. Davis. After McCann struck out the rally was over. While the Mets would amass some hits, their scoring was over too.
In the end, this was a 10-3 loss. If not for some mistakes, perhaps it would’ve been closer. It’s also possible the Mets win. Whatever the case, it all happened, and it’s just time to look towards the rubber game.
Game Notes: David Peterson went to the 60 day IL with a broken toe. Stephen Nogosek was put on the IL. Brandon Drury was recalled. Nick Tropeano was sent to Syracuse. Rich Hill was officially added to the roster and will start tomorrow.
There are times when the New York Mets offense can’t do anything, and it leaves you baffled. Other times, there’s a pitcher like Brandon Woodruff they just need to outlast.
Tonight was one of those nights, but fortunately, Tylor Megill was very up to the task. The surprising rookie went toe-to-toe with Woodruff over five innings.
In the fourth, rut Milwaukee Brewers finally broke through with an Omar Navarez solo shot. At that point, Woodruff was perfect and looked like he had perfect game stuff.
However, yet again, Brandon Nimmo was a catalyst. He’d hit a lead-off double, and go the consternation of many, he’d move to third on a Francisco Lindor sacrifice bunt. If nothing else, this helped the Mets manufacture a run as Dominic Smith hit a game tying sacrifice fly.
After five, Megill was done having allowed just one run on two hits and two walks while striking out seven. It was yet another step forward for him and further proof he can handle the fifth starter job.
Entering the bottom of the seventh, Woodruff had allowed just one hit and really just the one base runner. That changed when Lindor drew a lead-off walk, and Smith followed with a single putting runners at the corners with no outs.
Pete Alonso jumped on Woodruff’s first pitch driving an RBI double into the left field corner. On the play, we’d probably see Gary Disarcina‘s first aggressive send which didn’t blow up in the Mets face:
— New York Mets (@Mets) July 6, 2021
Alonso later scored on a Michael Conforto RBI single giving the Mets a 4-1 lead. This marked the second time all year Woodruff allowed over three runs and the first time outside of Colorado.
That was the score as Edwin Diaz entered in the ninth to try to earn the save. It was far from easy, and in many ways, it might’ve been Diaz’s most impressive save this year.
Willy Adames sjngied, and Narvarez. In his career, Diaz has had issues with runners in scoring position, and we’d see that here with Tyrone Taylor singling home Adames to pull the Brewers within two runs.
In what could be an NLDS preview, Megill held his own against the Brewers ace. The Mets then took advantage of Woodruff going through the other a third time. Mostly, the Mets again persevered.
Game Notes: Keith Hernandez had a day off but suffered an injury at his home which invoked trying to prune while standing at the edge of his hot tub. Mets are 35-6 when scoring at least four runs.
We’d all need a big hug after this emotional roller coaster.
Trevor May, who has been struggling of late, got himself into a bases loaded two out jam in the eighth. Worse yet, he fell behind 3-1 in the count. May would rally back, strike out Cooper, and help keep this game tied.
Jeurys Familia had two on and no outs in the ninth, and he battled back to send the game into extras.
In the 10th, we’d see one of the craziest things of all with Wilfredo Tovar getting a base hit. Of course, Tovar is one of many pressed into action no one thought would even be contemplated to play for the Mets this year.
That hit was Tovar’ first Mets hit since 2013. Unfortunately, it wasn’t good enough to score Tomas Nido, and the Mets would somehow squander that opportunity.
For his part, Nido got yet another start, and he again proved he deserves the job. In fact, it was his third inning RBI double which increased the then Mets lead to 3-1. He also had two caught stealings including a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play:
Who doesn't love a good strike 'em out, throw 'em out. ? pic.twitter.com/IqsWEoXPcx
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 22, 2021
Fast-forward to the 11th, and the Mets had a golden opportunity with Jonathan Villar starting the inning at second. At the plate was Francisco Lindor, who opened the scoring in the first with an RBI double scoring Villar.
Lindor got the hit, but Villar stopped at third. That proved costly when Villar was PICKED OFF OF THIRD?!?!?!?
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) May 22, 2021
That’s a horrid job by Villar, but you do wonder where third base coach Gary Disarcina was. On that note, it was another terrible job by Disarcina tonight with his getting two runners caught at the plate. One of those was Nido in the fourth. Nido wasn’t even close.
After Drew Smith navigated his way through the 11th, the Mets would not be denied in the 12th. It was just how the Mets drew it up in Spring Training.
Khalil Lee came up to the plate despite literally striking out in literally all of his career plate appearances. He’d hit a go-ahead double.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 22, 2021
This wasn’t good enough. Johneshwy Fargas would hit a two run RBI triple to give the Mets a 6-3 lead. It was 6-3 partially because Fargas went for the inside the park homer but was nailed at the plate.
Initially, it was up to Aaron Loup to earn the save. It didn’t go too well with his allowing back-to-back singles to start the inning pulling the Marlins to 6-4. That’s when Lindor bailed out Loop with a big double play:
Francisco Lindor turns the double play and Dom Smith with the beautiful scoop! pic.twitter.com/NBG3ItlFSJ
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 22, 2021
Better than the heads up play by Lindor was the Smith pick at first. Yes, a run score, but the Mets were that much closer to winning. They’d get that win with Rojas going to Jacob Barnes.
When Barnes recorded the final out, the Mets had a very hard fought 6-5 win in 12. They’re down 16 players, and they have Triple-A talent out there. Despite all that, they’re 21-17 and in first place.
With the way the New York Mets offense is going, they need brilliant pitching performances to win games. They got that and then some from Taijuan Walker.
If not for Jonathan Villar throwing away a double play ball in the second, there’s no chance the Sr. Louis Cardinals score a run. That unearned run is all the Cardinals would score. In fact, they wouldn’t see another base runner.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 6, 2021
The only thing which stopped him was his hitting 92 pitches. Really, nothing else was stopping him. He was that brilliant. Just one hit with no walks while striking out eight.
Put it another way, he had no-hit stuff.
With this being the Mets, it couldn’t be easy. Not this offense. In fact, they’d set a Mets record for futility stranding 17 runners on base.
The Mets had an opportunity to get that run back in the third, but Gary Disarcina and the Mets offense got in the way.
That hold looked even worse when Harrison Bader‘s throw was offline and short. Compounding the problem was Smith strikeout and Pillar flying out.
The Mets wouldn’t crack through until the fifth, and that’s because John Gant, who was arguably better than Walker over the first four innings, got wild.
Despite Gant losing it, the Mets couldn’t further cash in. Walker struck out and then Jeff McNeil grounded out.
It was the same situation in the eighth except this time it was against the Cardinals bullpen. The Mets loaded the bases, and Alonso walked to force home the third run.
They FINALLY got a bases loaded hit when Dominic Smith hit an RBI single, but it would only score one. That’s where it ended.
Kevin Pillar popped out. Villar struck out. McCann flew out. It was 4-1, and Walker was done. Fortunately, the Mets didn’t need more runs.
Goldschmidt flew out, and Arenado grounded out. With that, the Mets earned a split of the four game series, and they had a winning road trip where Jacob deGrom didn’t pitch.
All-in-all, despite all that’s gone wrong and with all the drama, not too bad. It’s now time for the Mets to start putting together a big stretch.
Game Notes: The Mets wouldn’t call it a setback, but Carlos Carrasco was moved to the 60 day IL. Lindor snapped an 0-for-26 stretch with a ninth inning single. Even with that, Lindor has walked more than he struck out this season.
For two nights in a row, J.D. Davis made errors which cost the New York Mets dearly. In back-to-back nights, his defense was a direct cause of Taijuan Walker and David Peterson being unable to navigate through five innings.
The problems with Davis at third are multi-faceted. He sometimes has difficulty hitting balls hit right at him. He doesn’t have range. While he has a strong arm, he seemingly has the yips where he is taking multiple steps before releasing the ball.
Honestly, this is a player who is crossed up right now, and it is an adventure when he is out there. Right now, his play is on par with Todd Hundley in left field or Mike Piazza at first base. Put another way, the Mets are putting a player in a position to fail, and despite Davis’ best efforts, he’s failing miserably.
This is not a direct reflection on the effort. We all saw the reports of Davis working with Gary Disarcina and Francisco Lindor. There is really nothing to doubt the effort. That said, there is every reason to doubt he can play third base or any position.
Since joining the Mets in 2019, Davis has a -19 DRS at third base. That is the worst at the position by a significant margin. In fact, on just his play at third base alone, he’s the fifth worst defender in the majors. When you include his -9 DRS in left field, he surpasses Jurickson Profar as the worst fielder in all the majors.
The Mets were attempting to hide him at third, and they thought putting him next to Lindor would help. Seeing him in action this year and over the past three years, it’s not working. It can’t work.
Also, keep in mind, the Mets are not just trying to hide Davis’ glove. Because they refused to make the hard decisions, they put Pete Alonso at first pushing Dominic Smith to left field. That put Brandon Nimmo to center. Of all those moves, Nimmo in center seems to be the only one working well. That’s the Mets getting lucky.
The Smith in left field is another factor. The Mets left side defense is atrocious. He and Davis combined are working to neutralize Lindor. Honestly, what is the point of getting Lindor if you’re going to surround him by terrible defenders? That’s like putting a great sound system in a Ford Pinto.
The bigger problem is the Mets pitching staff. We saw it with Walker and Peterson, and we will see it with Marcus Stroman. In fact, we will also see it with Jacob deGrom. The Mets have a ground ball pitching staff. That issue will further compound it self when Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard return from the IL.
Overall, the Mets have built a team based on ground ball pitching. That is why you could believe you can get away with Smith in left and Nimmo in left. That’s all well and good. However, you can’t assemble a ground ball staff and put literally take the worst defensive third baseman in the majors and make him the starter.
The Mets decision is compounded by the fact they have Luis Guillorme, who is a great defender. We also see Guillorme is hitting to start the season. He’s a grinder who is just never going to give up. Case-in-point is Guillorme’s at-bat last night. The Mets were down 12 with two outs in the ninth, and he got a base hit after battling in a seven pitch at-bat.
Overall, when you look at how the Mets built this team, Davis cannot start. When you look at how mightily, he’s struggling, Davis cannot start. When you see his numbers over the past three years, Davis cannot start. When you see the other options available, Davis cannot start.
Yes, this is getting redundant, but then again, so is the Mets insistence on trying to make Davis an everyday player. They tried. Davis tried. It’s not working, and they are putting an entire season at risk by doing so. It’s time to make Davis the strong bench player he was always meant to be and allow Guillorme and/or Jonathan Villar play in his stead.
There are reports the deadened ball efforts may not have gone as planned with the new balls looking all the more juiced. That could really benefit J.D. Davis who had a really good second half in 2019 with the juiced ball.
Add to that, his working with Francisco Lindor and Gary Disarcina at third. Certainly, Lindor’s range helps him defensively as he has less ground to cover. We already saw some of the positive results this Spring Training.
When you look at Davis, you see a player who is in a position to succeed. He’s in a deep lineup, and there are players around him who are going to make him a better player. Between that and his willingness to do whatever he needs to do to succeed, no one, especially me, should be counting out his ability to have a great 2021 season.
Absurd, right? Well beyond absurd. No one in their right mind would ever do that. Right?
Sadly, it’s true. That’s what Gary Disarcina did. Sorry, Mets INFIELD COACH Gary Disarcina.
Disarcina spoke about how Guillorme has limited range and how he should learn first base to become a more versatile utility player. Yes, it was couched as a positive, but saying your second best defensive infielder has limited range is an unnecessary criticism.
Gold Glove play by Guillorme pic.twitter.com/tdazv3cwaa
— MetsFanMania (@MetsFanMania) March 14, 2021
Luis Guillorme can pitch and make great plays in the field. Versatility >>> pic.twitter.com/uzEQkSyYb2
— SNY (@SNYtv) August 11, 2020
Guillorme wasn’t the only player Disarcina critiqued. He also spoke about Davis’ defense. Now, given how he was critical of Guillorme, you could only imagine what he had to say about Davis.
As reported by Mike Puma of the New York Post, Disarcina said, “he’s been ‘pleased’ with Davis’ work [at third] this spring.” He also spoke about analytics helping Davis and that Davis has “definitely improved.”
The article also spoke about wanting to make Davis work at third because they want to keep his bat in the lineup and Guillorme on the bench.
That’s right. The Mets are actively ignoring Guillorme continuing to prove himself as an everyday player to make something work that hasn’t. Remember, Davis has been among the worst defenders in Mets history.
Now, they have Disarcina saying Guillorme has poor range and needs to learn first to become more versatile while saying he’s pleased with Davis’ progress. Maybe we should consider the source.
Disarcina was the bench coach who couldn’t properly run QC leading to Jay Bruce batting out of order. He’s also been completely unable to help Mets infielders defensively.
Remember, Disarcina has been coaching Davis for two years now, and Davis has only regressed. Jeff McNeil was a good third baseman, and he struggled under Disarcina’s tutelage last year.
There’s also Amed Rosario. Rosario was an exceptionally gifted prospect who many thought could win a Gold Glove one day. Instead, while working with Disarcina, Rosario was actually the worst defensive shortstop in baseball and fourth worst defender overall.
This same coach is now going to say Guillorme has limited range while working on his versatility to be a better bench player? He’s going to say he’s finally getting through to Davis?
It’s an embarrassing series of statements devoid of any credibility. It really only highlights how poor of a coach Disarcina has been and just which direction the Mets want to go.
At this point, they’d rather try to go with someone who is among the worst fielders in Mets history over the better player who has earned the job. For some reason, the Mets and Disarcina thought they should prop up one player while taking subtle shots at the better player.
It’s ridiculous and hopefully dishonest.